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ICHRP endorses the International People’s Tribunal 2024 as an important step towards a just and lasting peace in the Philippines

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ICHRP endorses the International People’s Tribunal 2024 as an important step towards a just and lasting peace in the Philippines

Statement
February 14, 2024

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) officially endorses and will support the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) on the Philippines to be held in Europe from May 17-19, 2024. The IPT 2024’s objectives align with ICHRP’s relentless call for the end of the armed conflict by addressing its root causes, as well as for respect for International Humanitarian Law in the course of the ongoing conflict in the Philippines. We call on people and organizations all over the world to attend the IPT 2024 and to vigorously promote its outcomes. We launch a special call to the European solidarity movements to actively support the organization of the IPT 2024.

The IPT 2024 follows a long history of peoples’ tribunals that have shaped international public opinion and tried various regimes on crimes against humanity. It is a quasi-judicial forum, this time convened by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) and the Friends of the Filipino People in Struggle (FFPS). It aims to investigate and address alleged war crimes committed by the US-supported Marcos and Duterte regimes. It will serve as a platform for victims, advocates and their organizations to present evidence and legal arguments related to alleged crimes committed against the Filipino people.

In the current moment, war crimes in the Philippines are intensifying in violation of key peace agreements like the Comprehensive Agreement on International Humanitarian Law and the Joint Agreement on Safety Immunity Guarantees. In December, ICHRP condemned AFP attacks that killed civilians and hors de combat. Meanwhile, Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro, two brave environmental activists who publicly exposed their abduction by state forces in a press conference that was meant to present them as forced surrenderees, continue to face military harassment. United Nations Special Rapporteur for freedom of opinion and expression, Ms. Irene Khan, visited the Philippines in January and called for the abolition of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the agency which abducted, tortured and paraded Jhed and Jonila. Ms Khan commented that the resumption of peace talks makes the NTF-ELCAC “outdated,” and further urged President Marcos Jr to issue an Executive Order against red tagging.

These developments serve as a reminder for the Philippine government on its obligation to the principles of the rules of war or the international humanitarian law. These also highlight the urgent need to address the social and economic issues at the root of the armed conflict in the Philippines, and raise the need for broader and stronger international pressure for a just and lasting peace in the Philippines.

The IPT will give a platform for people targeted in international humanitarian law violations to give witness to the world on the severe crimes committed against the most oppressed and exploited in the Philippines. ICHRP views this IPT as critical in helping the public to better understand the situation in the Philippines and an opportunity to maximize the findings to wage campaigns against blatant, systematic and massive violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Testimonies from witnesses and the findings of the IPT will further enable attendees to advocate to third-party governments and intergovernmental bodies to take action on the crisis in the Philippines. In this context, the IPT 2024 is an important venue in which ICHRP can advance its support for the Filipino people’s rights to peace based on social justice.